This post is all about common mistakes students make their freshman year of college.
Freshman year is the most exciting year of college! You just left high school and you’re looking forward to your freedom in college, especially if you live on campus.
While freshman year can be arguably the year you have the most fun, you will also make a lot of mistakes.
What most college freshmen don’t realize (but soon will) is that it’s also a period of growth.
With that in mind, here are the most common mistakes students make their freshman year of college. Be sure to keep these in mind to help you avoid making those mistakes yourself!
10 Mistakes Students Make Their Freshman Year of College:
1. Not prioritizing your health
This is one of the biggest mistakes college freshmen make!
Believe it or not, you actually have to at least try to maintain somewhat of a healthy diet in college. If you live on campus, it may be harder to do this, so it requires more discipline. Contrary to popular belief, eating fast food all the time or living on snacks from the vending machine is not a healthy diet. If you’re unlucky like me, your poor eating habits will catch up to you.
While you’re spending all that time in the dining hall, be sure to grab something healthy!
2. Not being present
In my post on the 11 Lessons You’ll Learn the Hard Way in College, I talked about my experience not being present most of the time and the consequences it had.
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t spend your days waiting for the next thing to happen.
I’m in my senior year, and it feels like I was a freshman like 36 minutes ago; time went by quick!
Be sure to live in the moment and spend a lot of time with your friends and trying new things. After all, you only get busier throughout college, so freshman year is the best time to have fun!
3. Not letting go
You may have had a lot of friends in high school, but you all went to different colleges. While that’s not really a problem, sometimes it leads to one.
Over time, both you and your high school friends will have new friend groups, and you may grow apart. It’s not an easy thing to stomach, but sometimes it’s necessary.
I’m not saying you have to automatically let go of your old friends when you start college. I’m saying that some friendships don’t survive it; and as hard as it is to let go, you’ll have to do it.
Sometimes you drift apart from your friends because they become toxic, but you naturally want to save the relationship since you’ve known them for so long.
Don’t be afraid to let go of what’s no longer for you. Some people are only meant to be in your life for one season to teach you something.
4. Not trying new things
Your freshman year of college is the best time to branch out and try new things. There’s more room for failure/change since you’re younger and earlier in your academic career.
Not to mention, a lot of us aren’t entirely sure what we want to do with our lives at that point. Your freshman year of college is ideal for shadowing people in your profession of interest or taking up hobbies you’ve always wanted to do.
Who knows, you could turn that hobby into a business one day!
5. Not going to office hours
If you aren’t doing well in one of your courses, go to your professor’s office hours! Ask for help earlier in the semester, rather than later.
Don’t be that student that goes to your professor’s office hours with a week left in the semester asking them to round your 55% to an A.
It’s better to ask for help or clarification when studying than to fail an exam you knew you weren’t confident about.
Your professors are also an excellent resource for job opportunities if you get to know them. Some people I know have gotten interviews because their professors sent their resume over to companies they’ve worked for or to someone they know who’s working at that company.
Your professors are people too, and they may know people who could help you!
6. Not taking your work seriously
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t very focused during my freshman year of college. It was my first time being on my own, and I definitely went out a lot.
I still ended my first semester with a 3.89 GPA, but it’s my worst semester throughout my college career. I maintained a 4.0 GPA every semester afterward when I regained focus. To learn how I did it, read all my tips and advice in this post.
It’s fine to have fun during your freshman year of college, but you should always prioritize your work before “fun.” If you want to go out every weekend – great! Just make sure all your work is done first. Don’t stress yourself out trying to complete an assignment 2 hours before the deadline. That’s when everything seems to go wrong!
Don’t tell yourself you have time since it’s only freshman year. Your poor performance now will hurt you later on!
7. Not managing your money
Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to get fast food seven days a week. It may be a good idea at the moment because you’re feeling tired or lazy, but that broke college student life is not fun.
Try to save at least 10% of your earnings for emergencies and other unforeseen expenses. It’ll also come in handy if you decide not to work for a semester or a couple of weeks.
I managed to save most of the money I made from my internship in the summer so I wouldn’t have to work at all my senior year.
For more detailed tips on how to manage your money, check out these posts:
- 11 Insanely Easy Ways to Save Money in College
- 11 Ways to Make Money in College that You Didn’t Think About
- The #1 App College Students Need to Save Money & Get Cash Back When They Shop
8. Not getting involved on campus
Joining student organizations your freshman year of college is a great way to meet new people and build your resume!
I’d recommend joining a professional organization related to your major to network with people in your field, and a social organization to make friends and have fun on campus.
It’s best to try to join the executive board or eboard of the organization as well so you can build your resume with leadership experience especially if you don’t have any work experience yet!
9. Not going to school events
Going to campus events hosted by your school is another excellent way to meet new people + get free stuff!
If you want to get the full college experience, be sure to go to sporting events like football or basketball games.
You could also go to various events hosted by the student leadership office or student events management team. These events are usually free and beneficial to learn about what services are offered on campus.
10. Not having a plan
Before you get nervous, I don’t mean to have your life planned out to perfection.
It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life yet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to have a plan.
Don’t allow yourself to drift around with no purpose.
Decide what you want to get out of your college experience and things you want to try and make it your business to do so.
If you aren’t sure about certain things, find someone in that profession and ask to shadow them or have an informational interview. It might sound intimidating, but professionals are always willing to help college students. If they say no or don’t reply – find someone else and try again. After all, you don’t know them, and they don’t know you, so you have nothing to lose!
This post showed you 10 mistakes college freshmen make! Like it? Share it!
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